The Shellow Group
Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

10 Election Takeaways

The many surprises and oddities including thousands who skipped voting in local races.

By - Apr 6th, 2016 01:11 pm
Abele, Donovan, Barrett, Zielinski

Abele, Donovan, Barrett, Zielinski

Wow. What a day, what a night, what an election. Even when I predicted the April election to be insane I didn’t quite expect this.

For the past week the entire country put its focus on Wisconsin’s presidential primary. Mailers, billboards, emails, television ads, radio ads, banner ads, text messages, phone calls, bus stop signs, flyers, airplane sky messages, you name it and some candidate probably used it. The steamroller that is the presidential primary process dominated the discussion, leaving even the high-profile Wisconsin Supreme Court race as a lowly undercard. Things got so out of hand that a brewery was even converted to a TV studio for the past week.

On a local level, what did we see?

1. Tom Barrett Absolutely Crushed Bob Donovan

In January I predicted incumbent mayor Tom Barrett would beat Bob Donovan with 65 percent of the vote. After watching Barrett fail to get a majority of the votes in the February primary, I wondered how I could be so far off. Then I flipped on the TV to watch one of the mayoral debates and realized my prediction looked safe.

I turned on just in time to see Barrett read a Donovan press release verbatim and Donovan deny they were his words in Donald Trump-like fashion. Attacking the mayor, Donovan lambasted the state of property taxes in Milwaukee saying the only reason his property taxes went down was because of a falling assessment. Barrett noted that wasn’t true, his team checked and Donovan’s assessment was up. Instead of changing the topic, adjusting the time frame, or, you know, doing anything to make it seem like he was still right, Donovan simply thanked the mayor for the correction, shook his hand (mid-debate) and laughed when the mayor said “April 5th, I’d love to have your vote.”

Nope, Barrett didn’t win 65-35. He won 70-30.

2. Craig Peterson and Team Struck Out

Much was made in the past week of GOP political operative and River Hills resident Craig Peterson and his ironically named group Milwaukeeans for Self-Governance and the work he was doing to back a slate of candidate aimed at shaking up City Hall. Their single unifying message was opposition to the streetcar, to which they apparently didn’t find enough takers. Most notably Chris Wiken failed to unseat incumbent Terry Witkowski on the city’s far south side. Other notable Peterson-backed candidates that failed to unseat incumbents were aldermanic candidates Monique KellyShannan Hayden and mayoral candidates Joe Davis and Donovan. A couple members of Team Peterson held on to their council seats, including Mark Borkowski and Donovan. Is Tony Zielinski on the team? Not certain.

But Peterson is far from though. He already has his eyes set on Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm and is promoting the campaign of Verona Swanigan. Peterson should have an easier time in that race, starting with the fact he’ll be able to vote in it. The DA is elected at the county level, which includes the far more conservative suburbs.

3. Chris Abele Spent $25 for Every Vote He Received

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, who bills himself as a socially liberal, fiscal conservative, was anything but as a candidate. He spent over $4 million for a job that will pay a total for $516,000 over the next four years. That’s $8 for every $1 he will be paid by the county and $25 for each of the 156,524 votes he received.

At this point Milwaukee County residents (and their recycling bins) are so sick of the Chris Larson vs Chris Abele debate that I won’t dwell on this topic for too long.

My election math suggested Larson needed to win the city and then not got crushed in the suburbs. That went exactly according to plan in the February primary, with Larson winning the primary by over 500 votes. But yesterday, Larson actually lost the city by almost 1,000 votes, and the suburbs added to the deficit.

Both candidates gave good election night speeches that preached working together and moving Milwaukee County forward. Milwaukee County faces many challenges ahead and its important that the two (and their respective allies) are able to work together. Each said the right thing, now it’s up to the public to demand they actually do the right thing.

4. Zielinski Dominates in Bay View

The surprise of the night was in Bay View. I had assumed Tony Zielinski would hold onto his seat given that he has a large war chest built from his post as head of the Licenses Committee, years of built-up name recognition and an impressive ability to pick up endorsements from labor groups. Still, former school board member Meagan Holman couldn’t even garner one-third of the vote, getting way less than I expected. Holman actually picked up nearly 1,000 votes more than 2012 Zielinski-challenger Jan Pierce, but Zielinski gained over 4,000 in that same period. Call it the Bernie Sanders effect.

5. Puente is only Common Council Incumbent to Lose

Congratulations to Chantia Lewis, who defeated incumbent alderman Robert Puente. Puente was probably best known at City Hall for not actually being there. He also represents an emerging trend where a single incumbent on the council loses their seat during each cycle. In 2012 it was funeral director Jim Witkowiak falling to Jose Perez. In 2008 it was jailed incumbent Michael McGee, Jr. losing to Milele Coggs. I guess it doesn’t help to be known for not spending a lot of time at your desk when reelection rolls around.

The election of Lewis could have major ramifications for the Milwaukee Common Council. Puente, who is Hispanic, represented a majority black district. The election of Lewis, who is black, creates a more substantial voting block of black council members (Coggs, Ashanti Hamilton, Russell Stamper II and newcomers Chevy Johnson and Khalif Rainey). Lewis will also hold the distinction of being the only military veteran on the council.

6. Donovan Almost Lost Two Races in One Night

The atmosphere at McKieran’s went from bad to truly alarmed last night. With over 80 percent of votes tallied, Donovan was only winning his aldermanic race by 72 votes over Justin Bielinski. Donovan would eventually pull it out, with unofficial results from the Milwaukee Election Commission giving him a 158-vote win. That’s a small margin, but get this, 965 ballots were submitted that simply declined to vote in that race. Did voters think they couldn’t vote for Donovan twice? Did they fail to flip over the ballot? More on this undervoting trend in a minute, but first a word on Donovan’s challenger.

Despite the outcome, Bielinski ran an admirable campaign. He lacked the name recognition or campaign war chest that Donovan has. The buzz leading into election day was that Bielinski, a newcomer to Milwaukee politics, had knocked on every door in the district multiple times and had a good shot. With that kind of drive and determination, expect to hear more from Justin Bielinski in the future.

7. Many Voters Didn’t Fill Out Their Whole Ballot

Under-voting is when a voter simply fails to vote for certain races. It’s perfectly legal. It’s also perfectly rational that with a huge turnout due to the presidential primary, many voters simply declined to vote in the down-ballot elections. Further complicating things, the Common Council races were on the back of the ballot.

In six out of the 14 contested aldermanic districts, the number of under votes exceeded the margin of victory. Wow.

And look at the Milwaukee County Circuit Court race between Michael Ackerman Havas and Jean Kies. Kies barely bested Ackerman Havas 100,352 to 99,266 but 111,149 voters simply skipped the race. Maybe Milwaukee County simply shouldn’t have a judge in that seat?

8. The County Board Looked Irrelevant

Did you know that your representative on the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors would appear on the ballot? You’re forgiven if you didn’t. In only a few cases were there actually contested races. The incoming county board will find their pay reduced to part-time and their decision-making authority reduced as well. That clearly had an impact on interest as only a few races were contested and a number of supervisors headed for greener pastures (led by Khalif Rainey, who made the jump to Milwaukee Common Council). Still, it’s one thing for an incumbent to run unopposed; this race actually had two open seats won by candidates, Sheldon Wasserman and Sequanna Taylor, who had no challengers.

9. Grothman Admits Voter ID Law is GOP Plot to Win Elections

How will the Republican Presidential nominee carry Wisconsin in November? According to Representative Glenn Grothman (R – WI), who has been known to speak his mind regardless of how outrageous his views, the state’s new voter identification law will play a big part. I have to hand it to Grothman, he actually said what we all know, but a Republican politician never admits: Voter identification requirements aren’t about stopping fraud, they’re about making it more difficult for likely Democratic voters.

10. Voter Turnout Still Disappointing

Turnout among registered voters in the city was 53 percent, rising to 58 percent for Milwaukee County. While high, especially compared to the April 2012 election, it still shows nearly half of people already registered to vote simply couldn’t be bothered to head to the polls. While your Facebook feed was filled with “I Voted” sticker selfies yesterday, half your friends still didn’t make it to the polls.

Curious who those people are? Use the My Vote Wisconsin voter database to find your friends’ voting records. But here’s a tip: don’t send them a postcard telling them that you checked on their voting record. The Abele campaign sure ruffled some feathers doing just that.

58 thoughts on “Eyes on Milwaukee: 10 Election Takeaways”

  1. AG says:

    #9, his stance is that intentional voter fraud and voting by those who are ineligible (which include convicted felons before probation/parole completed, illegal immigrants, etc) mainly benefit democrats. So in that respect, yes it is designed to make it difficult for some democratic voters to vote… if they otherwise shouldn’t be.

  2. Vincent Hanna says:

    Keep telling yourself that AG. He committed a Michael Kinsley “gaffe.” He’s also not the first Republican politician to make the claim that voter ID laws will help Republicans win elections. Only a staunch right-winger in serious denial believes that voter ID laws are about “protecting the integrity of elections.”

  3. Dave says:

    That’s utter bullshit, AG and you know it or you’re an idiot. Care to explain the difficulty many young college students faced yesterday taking hours to vote because they did not have proper ID as defined by the law your GOP pals wrote and then refused to fund education for?

  4. Tom D says:

    AG, how does voter ID stop felons from voting? Are felons precluded from having an acceptable ID (like a passport or driver’s license)?

  5. AG says:

    I was just clarifying that the GOP feels the fraudulent voting mostly benefited the left… thus a fight to stop fraudulent voting helps them win. Grothman is in-eloquent, but his message doesn’t counter that idea. Jeramey and other bloggers have just picked up on his statements and are trying to make it seem like this is new somehow or a big admission.

  6. Vincent Hanna says:

    What voter fraud? It is not and has not been a problem. Not in this state nor any other. So that is nonsense.

  7. AG says:

    You can’t prove something exists or doesn’t exist if you refuse to investigate it.

    Anyway, I’m not saying I support it, I’m just saying that Grothman’s statement wasn’t anything new. You can try arguing with me about the voter ID law but it’s not set up the way I think it should be anyway so you’re barking up the wrong tree.

  8. Vincent Hanna says:

    Voter fraud has been investigated though. And it has been proven to not exist. So not sure what you’re talking about.

  9. AG says:

    Oh good, on blogger was able to find 31 cases, wonderful.

    How about a report about the 2004 election results in Milwaukee where the the Milwaukee Police found a discrepancy in number of votes cast vs number of ballots counted of almost 5000 people.

  10. RMH says:

    AG, love how you reduced a law professor who’s studied the issues for many years, who provided a link to the material he used for his research, to “a blogger.” How do you people live in your ideological bubble?

    As for the 2004 election, have a link for that alleged issue? Wait, here’s one!

    hmmmm, I don’t think it was what you think it was:

    “But the Brennan Center’s review of the report “showed that much of what had originally been identified as potential fraud was in fact due to clerical error.”

    According to the Brennan Center’s analysis, there were allegedly 8,300 more ballots cast in Milwaukee than individuals processed, but the discrepancy was later attributed to administrative error. Of the 37,180 people in Milwaukee who were originally reported to have voted from invalid addresses, 31,500 actually just had problems with an apartment number. In other cases, data entry errors turned perfectly valid addresses into invalid ones. The rest of the allegedly invalid addresses were thrown out for lack of proof — and in any case, voters would have had to show proof of residency in order to cast ballots.”

  11. Vincent Hanna says:

    AG you sound awfully conspiratorial and like facts don’t matter nearly as much as your need to believe that voter ID laws are necessary because Republicans so say. That’s hardly the only study concluding that voter fraud is not a real problem. So yeah like RMH says enjoy your ideological bubble.

  12. AG says:

    So you are all ok with 5000 vote discrepency between number of voters and ballots cast in Milwaukee? If your litmus is convictions then your argument is pretty safe since the voting process makes it nearly impossible to track these things down. Whether it is from fraud or clerical errors, I would imagine anyone who finds 5000 vote errors concerning is happy for the ID requirements.

  13. Vincent Hanna says:

    “The Brennan Center analysis identified a fraud rate of only .0002 percent in the 2004 elections, and none of the improper voting allegations would have been prevented by requiring photo ID at the polls.”

  14. Paul Miller says:

    I have mixed feelings about Abele winning. I admire some aspects of his record, particularly his attention to debt service. At the same time, I am troubled by his lack of transparency and his consolidation of power. I feel like he won for two reasons: a) because he spent so much money, bought so many (actually absurd) negative ads, etc., and b) because the Republican turnout was so high that many of the conservative suburban voters who turned out chose him as their lesser of two evils.

    Like many people, I also consider Larson to have been a flawed candidate, but I was attracted by some of his proposals even as I was uncertain of their ability to pass.

    I am trying to look on the bright side and see Abele as, at least, a steady hand who hasn’t done anything disastrously bad. Plus, there will be some consistency in the leadership and less staff turnover in all the agencies. I dunno…I’m neither excited not disappointed about the County Exec race, I guess.

    It is, however, pleasing to see that Donovan was almost run out of office entirely. Justin Bielinski struck me as a standup guy and I hope the loss doesn’t discourage him from pursuing future political opportunities. Instead I hope he (and others) are energized by what he was able to do.

  15. Milwaukee Native says:

    Paul, re: “I am trying to look on the bright side and see Abele as, at least, a steady hand who hasn’t done anything disastrously bad.”

    Abele has indeed done some “disastrously bad things”:
    He handed over $80 million from put-upon county taxpayers for a Bucks arena that most county residents will not be afford to enter. He gave away prime downtown real estate worth $9 million to billionaire carpetbagger Bucks owners–and obligated taxpayers for sewer upgrades. He set up a mental health board that is virtually removed from all public oversight. He sold the Couture site worth $9 million for $500K to his developer buddy Rick Barrett, who happened to develop the Moderne where Abele bought condos for $800K below appraised value.

    Fortunately for us, Abele was prevented from disastrously selling off O’Donnell Park to NML for development, and for peanuts. Then he was averted again from backstabbing the Milwaukee Art Museum as they negotiated a deal to preserve O’Donnell and their access. It seems Sheldon Lubar was conspicuously absent from Abele’s campaign, after being a former campaign co-chair. It’s rumored that Lubar was mighty displeased to have been dissed as he was helping with MAM negotiations.

    Now Abele wants to kill our famous Domes and replace them with an amphitheater—after Argosy helped fund the Domes new lighting. Abele’s cockamamie scheme to dump the Marcus Center was also foiled by wiser heads—another entity he has funded and “stewarded.”

    Abele ultimately skewers institutions his family’s money once supported and people he once called friends. LGBT community, you may think you’re immune, but will he soon find a way to turn on you too? Sure, he tried to act grateful for Gazette endorsements by throwing his long-time “dear friend” Rebecca Bradley under the bus and endorsing Kloppenburg. It appears the only constant in Chris Abele’s life is that his loyalty to everyone and everything wanes.

    Of course, opportunistic Bradley and Abele could soon kiss and make up, since he’s so fond of extreme conservatives in Madison. But Becky “Mean Girl” could hold a grudge. Maybe she’ll show Abele by screwing Planned Parenthood or those she deems degenerates. No, wait, she’s sure to do that anyway–to repay her Benefactor Walker. It’s all too skeevy!

  16. RMH says:

    Seriously AG, I can’t force you to actually absorb information if you won’t leave your bubble.

  17. AG says:

    RMH, you haven’t really given any info. I recognize convictions for voter fraud is extremely low. Other than that, what are you looking for? Neither you or Vincent have addressed any concerns regarding my facts about Milwaukee such as the nearly 5,000 extra votes cast in 2004. Yes, they found a way to explain away a couple thousand to bring it down to 5k… but you can’t just write the rest of them off b/c they couldn’t figure out where they came from.

    There’s many other issues as well. For example, UWM’s Sandburg hall dorm has a capacity of 1887 residents. However, in 2004 around 2100 people voted there. One of them was a guy who voted at the dorm AND voted absentee in Michigan… yet I don’t believe he was ever convicted of any wrong doing. That guy was clearly comitting fraud, yet he doesn’t count in your sources statistics. Fact is, no one wants to or is able to really uncover this fraud because there’s no good paper trail.

    If these things don’t concern you at all then I’m afraid you should look in the mirror and see if you can see a bubble around yourself.

  18. Dave says:

    “For example, UWM’s Sandburg hall dorm has a capacity of 1887 residents. However, in 2004 around 2100 people voted there.”

    Are you serious? You realize that is simply a polling location for the neighborhood, right?

  19. AG says:

    Dave, yes I realize this.. I’m not that dense. I meant to say 2100 people voting using that address.

  20. AG says:

    I just looked it up. I remember that situation completely different. In reality, the issue with Sandburg hall was that 1887 people voted at that polling location but 2101 ballots were counted. Further, they found that over 10% of the votes cast by people as living at Sandburg did not in fact live at Sandburg.

  21. Tom D says:

    AG, even if the Sandburg situation you describe occurred, how would voter ID help? The IDs they accept don’t have to show your current address, and passports don’t contain any address at all. And how would Wisconsin’s voter ID law have prevented somebody from also voting in Michigan?

    The problem with voter ID is that 90% of voters (drivers) are given a pass while the other 10% (non-drivers who are marked poorer) must often jump through hoops (taking time off work, visiting or contacting other states for birth certificates, and paying for for taxicabs—remember all of these people are non-drivers). Clearly this is about disenfranchising non-drivers; what other reason can you provide for not accepting a recently-expired driver’s license for example? (Your photo and identity don’t expire with your license. That’s why the US Passport office accepts long-expired passports as valid photo ID when issuing new ones.)

    if the goal is detecting and eliminating fraud why not do it in way that doesn’t discriminate against non-drivers? One way would be photographing every voter when they arrive at the polls (and putting the photos through facial recognition software after the fact). If cheaters are detected, we can easily prosecute them (using their photo as proof). Another way would be to photograph people who show up without photo ID and use that photo to issue an ID for them.

  22. Tom D says:

    I meant to say “markedly poorer”, not “marked poorer” in my above post.

  23. Paul Miller says:

    Milwaukee Native, I don’t have the same misgivings about the arena deal that many people have. Yes, the state portion is problematic because of the funding diversion from UW. But on the local side, I don’t think the burden is that high. I especially don’t have a problem with the land giveaway because obviously no one else was showing any interest in the glut of space over there. In an ideal world, everyone would pay the market rate for everything, but sometimes you have to cut a deal. That portion was really a drop in the bucket overall.

    I’ll stand by my claim that nothing he has done is disastrous. And considering the improved debt position of the county, some things are actually better. A lot of voters out there aren’t so extreme as to expect a candidate to meet their full ideal. I think a Larson administration would have some notable issues as well.

    I sincerely think Abele is not as awful as his detractors claim. That’s all I am saying.

  24. AG says:

    Tom D, thanks for not just jumping on the attack and bringing up some very good counter points.

    I agree with you that Voter ID doesn’t solve all the issues, especially the current law. However, there are some advantages.

    Before going through some of them, a quick correction for your comment. Expired WI DL’s and ID’s, expired passports, and expired military ID’s are acceptable.

    First, it creates a bit more accountability for people registering so it’s easier to track down voters after the fact. One of the challenges with the MPD investigation is they couldn’t find a lot of questionable voters. They might have been made up voters committing fraud, but it might also have just been clerical errors. Requiring ID’s helps reduce that issue the poll workers are using real and verifiable information. Of all the fraudulent and questionable voters that the MPD found, they could prosecute only an extremely small number of them because of the poor documentation.

    Second, voter ID does a far better job of keeping illegal immigrants and non-citizens from voting because they don’t have access to a valid gov ID. From everything I’ve read, and feel free to try to refute this, the percent of noncitizens voting is higher than the percent of people who have trouble getting proper identification documents.

    Third, not really voting related, is that you need identification for almost anything you do in today’s society. If we push more people who don’t have ID’s to get them, we are actually doing a great service to them to improve their lives. One thing I like about this whole issue is that now government ID’s (the ID itself) are free to many people who couldn’t/wouldn’t pay for them before.

    I think the law could have been done better, but overall I’d rather have it than not.

  25. Vincent Hanna says:

    Improving their lives? If that’s the aim, why didn’t the GOP fund voter ID law education measures? Isn’t that awfully presumptuous (and dick-ish) of you, to declare what will improve their lives if you aren’t living their life?

    -“But voter ID laws don’t address what appears to be a more common source of voter fraud: mail-in absentee ballots.”

    -“Voter fraud generally rarely happens. When it does, election law experts say it happens more often through mail-in ballots than people impersonating eligible voters at the polls.”

    -“In Texas, for example, challengers to the law cited an African-American grandmother who could not afford the $25 to purchase her birth certificate to get an ID, and an elderly African-American veteran and longtime voter who was turned away at the polls in 2013 despite having three types of ID, because none qualified under the new law.

    And new research from the Government Accountability Office, an independent agency that prepares reports for members of Congress, suggests that voter ID laws are having an impact at the polls. Turnout dropped among both young people and African-Americans in Kansas and Tennessee after new voter ID requirements took effect in 2012, the study found.”

  26. AG says:

    Vincent, are you saying having a valid government ID doesn’t help improve someone’s life and access to resources? I don’t think that makes me dick-ish to think that. It’s very difficult to cash a social security check, get approved to rent an apartment, or get other governmental benefits without it.

    Like I said, I would have done the law differently… especially to address absentee ballots and to make it easier for out of state students to vote. I also would have supported funding for voter ID education… although after nearly 4 years of being in the news I would suspect most people would have been somewhat exposed at least.

  27. Vincent Hanna says:

    But they weren’t. The election commissioner in Milwaukee (or whatever his title is) stated that hundreds if not thousands of voters in the city had no idea about the new ID law because lawmakers have done nothing to educate the public about it. Why is that if the law is such a good thing?

  28. AG says:

    Like I said, I agree with you they should have spent money on education.

  29. Vincent Hanna says:

    OK I get that but what would the motive be for not educating voters? Why would Republicans be so supportive of the law but then not spend a time informing people about it?

  30. RMH says:

    I keep forgetting that it’s pointless to engage righties. We live in different universes, with different histories and recognized authorities and different values. This differences continue to diverge because the right absolutely refuses to admit that ANY other persons or points of view have legitimacy.

    I do remember as a child that the shorthand used in movies to show that the protagonist was in a bad place, say a fascist or communist dictatorship, was to show long lines of people being forced to show their papers. I find it depressing that the right has now turned one of the places where real progressive change began into that sort of dystopia. That people like AG aren’t appalled by their neighbors being treated that way for no good reason other than that they are likely political opponents says all we need to know about the world they are leading us into.

  31. Vincent Hanna says:

    I could not agree more RMH. I can’t stand the attitude of people like AG when it comes to an issue like this. Their privilege means it isn’t a problem for them and they insist then that it should be fine for everyone.

  32. Crystal B says:

    “This differences continue to diverge because the right absolutely refuses to admit that ANY other persons or points of view have legitimacy.”

    The same statement can be made about the left, RMH. The problem is that both parties have shifted toward the extremes to the point that everyone simply goes for their own agenda and talks past each other. Society in general today seems to relish demonizing those who do not share their exact opinions. Democrats are just as guilty of this as Republicans.

  33. blurondo says:

    For those who didn’t read the artice cited by AG in post #9 above, here is the pertinant portion. (It seems obvious that AG didn’t read it either.)

    2004 Report Embraced by Right-Wing; Mostly Identified Clerical Errors

    A variety of irregularities in the 2004 elections led to media accounts suggesting widespread fraud. In February of 2008, the Milwaukee Police Department released a report on that election “with what appears to be a painstaking investigation of the facts,” according to the Brennan Center for Justice, but including “policy recommendations offered with less care and disavowed by the Milwaukee Police Chief.”

    A Special Investigations Unit of the Milwaukee Police Department apparently authored the report without authorization, and though most observers believe the report’s factual findings were thorough, the policy recommendations and statutory analysis went beyond the pay grade of the police officers who drafted it. “We’re not the Department of Making Policy Recommendations,” said Milwaukee’s police chief at the time. “That’s where this thing got out of control.” The Milwaukee Police Department endorsed Walker for governor in 2010 and again in 2012.
    – See more at:

  34. RMH says:

    The BS “both sides do it” assertion didn’t take long, did it?

    Here’s the thing … the left for decades has tried to negotiate, reach out, find common ground. Look at Obama. Almost everything he’s proposed is a re-purposed ideas from the right, like RomneyCare/ObamaCare.

    Even in the back and forth here, Vincent and I have offered links to shore up our points … links which AG pointedly refuses to engage (as blurondo points out). So if “both sides are doing it” more and more it’s because we nerdy lefties have had it and are getting more aggressive. The leftward movement of the democrats in your link is a REACTION, and it’s not being led by the party leadership, which consists almost entirely of centrists like Clinton and Obama.

    Sorry if this makes so many people uncomfortable, but politics, as they say, ain’t beanbag. It’s only going to get louder in the years to come.

  35. Tim says:

    The 2nd biggest myth out there besides “widespread voter fraud” is the whole “both sides do it” idea. It’s a shallow, uninformed excuse that the left & right are somehow equivalent in their extremes.

    The far left is dead & buried in this country; when is the last time you heard calls to nationalize an industry or some other leftist trope?

  36. AG says:

    I have no idea how to respond to this… RMH:”his differences continue to diverge because the right absolutely refuses to admit that ANY other persons or points of view have legitimacy.”

    Have you not read any of my comments? I’ve conceded several points and agreed with several ideas put forth. How can you say I refuse to admit “ANY” other person or points of view have legitimacy?

    Meanwhile, no one is acknowledging any of the points I’m making, and instead you’re just sticking your head in the sand and claiming issues don’t exist. (Credit to Tom D for not doing that on this thread)

    For example, Blurondo points to the article that dismisses the facts found in the investigation as all clerical errors which can’t be further from the truth. Yes, a large number of inaccuracies were found to be clerical in nature, but a HUGE number were also unaccountable or straight up fraud. Even the journal sentinal found over 200 cases of multiple voting in 2004 and they just did a small survey of the data.

    But hey, you guys keep thinking there’s no problems and convince yourself that everyone having a proper ID isn’t good for them. Oh, and continue to be convinced I’m some far right wing crazy person… 😉

  37. Ryan N says:

    @MilwaukeeNative At least for the couture the county board supported and passed that too so you can’t blame Abele. Probably the one thing the city, county and state agreed on was building that tower.

  38. RMH says:

    Links AG? I looked and I couldn’t find anything other than rightie websites to support your assertions, and the ones I looked at offered no proof. This is exactly what I’m talking about, a closed world that passes around the same assertions but refuses to offer anything other than apocryphal gossip and links to itself. It’s like asking Tweedledee for proof, he says “Tweedledum told me!” and then going to Tweedledum and hearing him assert “Tweedledee says so!”

  39. Vincent Hanna says:

    Those 5,000 or so extra votes cast were explained AG. It did not happen. You keep saying otherwise and you are wrong. It’s a debunked myth.

    A professor who studied voter fraud in Wisconsin and around the country testified Thursday that it is “exceedingly rare,” and that requiring voters to show a photo ID might have prevented just one of the few dozen cases prosecuted in the state over the last decade.

    Convictions of voter fraud in Wisconsin in recent years have not kept pace with Republican claims of its prevalence in the state. Each year between 12 and 20 people are convicted of voter fraud in Wisconsin – a state with 3.4 million registered voters, said Reid Magney, a spokesman for the state Government Accountability Board. Typically, those convictions are for felons who voted while on probation or parole before they had regained the right to do so, Magney said.

    Rated as True: “More people are struck by lightning than commit in-person voter fraud” by impersonation.

    Also, you still haven’t answered me. If the voter ID law is so great and warranted, why didn’t Republicans spend a dime educating people about it?

  40. AG says:

    Vincent, it’s not debunked. Read that report you just cited. It writes off 4600+ votes as clerical errors… what they actually said, and they’re over simplifying, is that they have no idea why there’s 5000 more votes than voters because the records are so bad.

    Now read the rest, they go through the whole police report and shrug off the issues like they’re nothing. For example “3600 verification cards were returned as undeliverable; we are not aware of any further public investigation of these cards” uh… ok? So we’re just going to pretend these made up addresses didnt happen?

    The MPD report basically said 4 things. 1. The election process is severely screwed up and cleric errors abound. 2. Voter fraud is extrmeely easy to perpetrate and there’s no paper trail to enable tracking it down. 3. Even when they find it, they stopped trying to convict because the clerical errors are so bad it makes it nearly impossible to get a conviction. 4. It’s a FACT that even after weeding down all the clerical errors, 4600+ more votes were counted then there were voters.

    They had very good evidence of a lot of shady things happening… but because of the way the system is set up, they can’t get a jury to convict even when they tried. So a whole lot of good your conviction stats do when you can’t get a conviction because the system is so screwed up.

    As long as we keep the current system, we won’t be able to find misdeeds in the polls. And that’s how a lot on the left want them, so they can keep putting out articles saying how little fraud there is. Even this politifact points that out when they rate the rampant fraud idea fault, but admit it is something that can’t be proven and goes on to point out all the shadiness at the end of the story.

    And to answer your question, they’re cheap and didn’t see the value. (I actually do recognize that some GOP don’t care because they do see people without ID’s as generally left voting. hence the GOP and grothmans position that fraud and illegal votes benefit the left)

  41. AG says:

    Vincent, if I did one of the following… how would you prove I did it before voter ID?

    Claimed to be someone else when I voted
    Provided fake address verification when I registered
    Vote in two states, changing my name slightly for each
    using a deceased persons info
    Voting if I’m not a legal US Citizen eligible to vote

    If you can’t prove I did that… how do you expect to use convictions of these things happening as proof?

    Can we say that because the MPD only gives out 5 jay walking tickets a day that only 5 people jaywalk a day?

  42. Vincent Hanna says:

    AG you dismiss all the experts whose opinions differ from yours, people who study elections and voter fraud, but then hold up an MPD report as gospel. That strikes me as a little bit ridiculous.

  43. AG - poster formerly known as Andy says:

    Vincent, I’m not dismissing the brennan center analysis, I’m just saying they’re glossing over some parts. Most of what they list is exactly what the MPD report says.

  44. Vincent Hanna says:

    I am not just talking about that report.

    “Can we say that because the MPD only gives out 5 jay walking tickets a day that only 5 people jaywalk a day?”

    That’s supposed to prove that voter fraud is rampant? Jaywalking? That’s maybe the worst analogy I have ever heard.

  45. AG says:

    Now you’re just being difficult. Pick any crime… you can’t use convictions as the rate at which that crime takes place.

  46. RMH says:

    So we link to reports debunking the report that you keep referring to, and as proof our links are wrong you go back to the original debunked report.

    At this point I’m going to just give you the benefit of the doubt that you’re just an ideologue troll and not really that obtuse.

    Oh, and the so-called “verification cards” that you find so convincing are a tool used by rightwing groups to conduct voter caging, wherein returned mail is used to “prove” that voter’s registrations are wrong and often to compile lists that are used to challenge voters. It’s an old strategy.

    Have a nice night everyone

  47. AG says:

    RMH, do you post here to try to have a real discussion or are you just trying to use it as an outlet to vent your frustrations? Since you’re not really reading what I’m saying, I’m going to assume it’s the latter.

    For anyone else who may be following the discussion, the brennan center report on the MPD investigation doesn’t refute the facts of what the investigators found. The Brennan center’s point in their report is that the level of fraud is low and voter ID won’t help much. Those are debatable topics. However, what is not debatable, is that no one is disputing the facts of the investigation, only the recommendations made in it. There is no “debunking” going on, nor is anyone trying to “debunk” what the MPD found.

    Which brings us back to the thousands of votes unaccounted for and other irregularities in the report (to which the Brennan center does not dispute). In addition, no one can actually give us a strategy of how we’d investigate illegitimate voting scenario’s the ones I listed above.

    That’s fine though, if you don’t care about thousands of votes worth of discrepancies or that non-citizens could easily vote without the voter ID law, then that’s your prerogative I guess.

  48. RMH says:

    I care much more about the damage I know that is being inflicted on my neighbors and fellow citizens than about the overwrought “solution” to a problem that nearly every expert reports doesn’t exist. I’m not interested in investigating it. I don’t care. I live in a country that is supposedly free, with neighbors who supposedly have civil rights. Unfortunately, there has always been a cadre of people in this country who refuses to allow people they don’t like to have full and equal access to their rights.

    Do you care about the harm your “solution” causes? You and your allies are trying to kill theoretical mosquitos with machine guns.

  49. RMH says:

    A day after Wisconsin’s strict voter ID law helped cause long lines at the polls and kept some would-be voters from casting a ballot at all, a former GOP staffer told MSNBC his party actively intended for it to disenfranchise Democratic voters.

    Todd Allbaugh, who served as chief of staff to a Republican state senator, said in an interview Wednesday that at a closed-door caucus meeting in 2011, GOP lawmakers openly discussed how the the ID bill would hit minorities and students hardest.

    “One of the senators said, ‘We need to think about the ramifications here, what this means, particularly in Milwaukee and college campuses across the state, what that could mean for us,’” said Allbaugh.

    “What I’m interested in here is winning, and we need to use the opportunity, because if Democrats had the power to do it to us, they’d do it,” another senator said, according to Allbaugh.

    “I was in the room when this thing was conceived and birthed,” Allbaugh added. “Some bills work differently in reality than they were intended. This one worked exactly as intended.”

  50. AG says:

    This problem you’re so ready to ignore can affect some elections up to 1 or 2%, per the brennan center’s own documents. That’s more then enough to sway elections… which disenfranchises everyone who votes. That’s hardly a “mosquito” sized problem.

    To top it off, one of the most basic and fundamental steps to helping homeless and poor citizens is to help them obtain a valid government ID.

    Two birds, one stone.

    Once you account for all the people that will be better off when they get a valid ID, the only sizeable group inconvenienced are college students from out of state. While I would have made it easier for them if I wrote a voter ID law of my own, I did… But I’m sure they’ll manage.

  51. AG says:

    Like I said many posts back, there’s some that see it as a political advantage and those are the ones that I think kept parts of the law that make sense, like out of state college students, out of the law. It’s kind of like the left who want to give ID’s to illegals so they can vote (or try to vote to sir up controversy). Politics, ugly and disappointing. That doesn’t change that voter ID requirements are a positive thing.

  52. Tom D says:

    AG, you ask how, without voter-ID, we could detect fraud in the following cases:

    • Claimed to be someone else when I voted
    ° When “someone else” tries to vote, he would be told he already voted. Since he hadn’t (an impostor did) he would complain that his vote was stolen and we would hear about it. Since we have never heard of this happening, I doubt that it ever does.

    Besides, there is a very real risk that “someone else” voted before you arrived at the polling place in which case you would be subject to arrest.

    • Provided fake address verification when I registered
    ° How does Voter ID prevent this? If you move since your driver’s license was issued, it doesn’t have your current address anyway (and passports never have addresses or even your state of residence)

    * Vote in two states, changing my name slightly for each
    ° Voter ID does nothing to prevent this. Even if all 50 states adopted Wisconsin’s law, nothing in that law would prevent me from voting in 2 (or 50) states (even if I used the exact same name) provided I used my US passport (which shows no state of residence).

    • using a deceased persons info
    ° In Wisconsin, at least, dead people are automatically removed from the polling list. My father, a Madison resident, died 2 years ago. I recently heard about and checked out my father. He was marked as “deceased”. I then checked my aunt, a Milwaukee resident, who died 4 years ago; also “deceased”.

    I acted as my father’s executor and did nothing special to make this happen. My father acted as my aunt’s executor and I know he did nothing special to make this happen. (Neither I nor my father notified election officials to take the deceaseds off the rolls.)

    Do you know of anybody who is deceased but still registered to vote in Wisconsin?

    • Voting if I’m not a legal US Citizen eligible to vote
    ° Voter ID doesn’t stop this because Wisconsin accepts military IDs (and there is no prohibition against non-citizens serving in the US military) and because Wisconsin issues driver’s licenses to non-citizens (holders of green cards and certain visas).

  53. Vincent Hanna says:

    AG you ignore mountains of evidence and data you don’t like, cling to a single MPD report, and then admit that while some might find political advantage in voter ID (the understatement of the century considering how many on the right have admitted its true intent) it’s OK because politics is ugly. You are a dedicated true believer if nothing else.

  54. Vincent Hanna says:

    7 papers, 4 government inquiries, 2 news investigations and 1 court ruling proving voter fraud is mostly a myth

    But please AG keep citing one MPD report.

  55. Vincent Hanna says:

    Meanwhile, votes are being suppressed. Disgraceful.

  56. Milwaukee Native says:

    Paul Miller: You said a $4 million-a-year county burden for the Arena is “not that high.” That $4M could fund long-delayed urgent repairs to both the Lake Park bridge and the Domes, and then make a teeny dent in other deferred park repairs (now about $200 million). Our parks are dying and Abele’s defeatist plan is continued neglect & demolishing the Domes.

    Making the Bucks the spec “master developer” of 30 acres of prime real estate will make the Visiting Billionaires much richer and the rest of us at their mercy. I hope I’m wrong, but it’s likely that local pubs will be cannibalized, businesses and prospective development north of Juneau on 4th Street will suffer by closing 4th, and good urbanism will be sacrificed. Milwaukee is not the first city to get totally fleeced by sports team owners. However leading sports columnists, including in the NY Times, were shocked by how bad the Bucks deal is for beleaguered local taxpayers.

    Ryan N: Yes, the board approved the Couture deal, after Abele finagled it in secret without a formal RFP process. The board could only vote up or down on what some acknowledged was a dubious deal. Now Abele can do such deals without any input from the board, and thus the public. Finding a complicit “real-estate professional” to co-sign any deal (and trump any concerns of the comptroller) is a total joke. Even Scott Walker has nowhere near as much power–and UW philanthropist Shedon Lubar thinks Walker has WAY TOO MUCH power to sell off assets!

    Also, how do other developers build “feasible” projects without getting land for almost nothing–what Abele once called “the most valuable real estate in the state.” Giving an $8.5 million freebie to Rick Barrett just leads to an unsustainable arms race where every developer puts a hand out for more gimmes–and taxpayers get the shaft. Not a recipe for a healthy economy.

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